What is a Fructooligosaccharide?

What is a Fructooligosaccharide?

A fructooligosaccharide (also written fructo-oligosaccharide) is a carbohydrate, which is made out of a short chain of fructose molecules. It is also classed as an oligosaccharide; oligo meaning few and saccharide, sugar. Fructooligosaccharides are also sometimes called oligofructose. Often the term is abbreviated to the letters FOS.

Together with inulin fiber, fructooligosaccharides are probably most recognized for their prebiotic qualities.

They are very similar but not identical to inulin: the difference being in their chemical structures. Fructo-oligosaccharide chains of molecules are shorter than inulin chains.

Where Can I Find FOS?

You can find FOS in certain natural foods including:

  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Chicory
  • Sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes
  • Yacón
  • Barley
  • Wheat

Of these foods the sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke and its relative, the yacón have the highest concentrations of FOS.

You will also find that fructo-oligosaccharide or oligofructose, as it is also known, is added to many processed foods, mainly as a prebiotic or fiber supplement but also as a sweetener.

This type of FOS is not natural. Most is manufactured using a chemical process, in which fungal enzymes are added to white sugar (sucrose), acting upon it and turning it into FOS. Some fructooligosaccharides are also made by the hydrolysis (breaking down) of inulin from chicory. FOS is becoming increasingly popular as a prebiotic and is now added to many types of processed foods in the US. You may already have come across this additive in the foods you buy. As a prebiotic, FOS is very similar in terms of properties to inulin. It can be considered beneficial to your health as it:

  • Is virtually undigested by the human digestive system so arrives in the colon unaltered, providing a food source forbeneficial bacteria
  • Has low calorific value.
  • Increases the population of bifidobacteria in the colon.1,2
  • Acts as a non-digestible fiber in the diet and so can help relieve constipation.

Additionally FOS has been shown to:

  • Enhance magnesium absorption.3
  • Promote calcium absorption.4

Like inulin fiber, FOS appears to be a good thing. Before you decide to try it though, you should be aware of its side-effects.

What Are the Side Effects of Taking a Fructooligosaccharide?

Before you decide that fructooligosaccharides are for you, you should be aware that they:

  • Have been shown in some scientific studies to increase the growth of “bad” bacteria such as Klebsiella Pneumonia and other less-friendly organisms such as E. Coli and many Clostridium species5,6. Klebsiella Pneumonia is associated with the auto-immune disease Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and also worryingly is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics both in the US and elsewhere.
  • Are likely to cause an increase in gas, abdominal discomfort and bloating if taken in large quantities.

Should I Take Fructooligosaccharides?

It is clear then that FOS has both advantages and disadvantages. Should you take it and if so how should you take it?

Given that fructooligosaccharides appear to be able to feed less friendly organisms in the colon, we think it is prudent to avoid high quantities of FOS if your digestive flora is very unbalanced.

Large amounts of FOS are usually found in supplements such as probiotics, stand-alone fructooligosaccharide supplements or processed foods. Natural foods contain small amounts of fructo-oligosaccharides in a less concentrated form and, depending on your situation, you may be able to manage these lesser amounts.

Gut dysbiosis, intestinal candida and food intolerance symptoms are sure signs that you have a gut flora imbalance, so if this is you, be sure to avoid foods and supplements with added FOS. If you are in this situation and are taking a

probiotic supplement to help you re-balance your digestive flora, be sure to choose one which is free from FOS and other prebiotics. Also if you have Ankylosing Spondylitis then high quantities of fructooligosaccharides are not for you.

If you are free of these ailments then FOS may be of help to you. Have a word with your physician before you begin and remember to start with small quantities only and ramp up slowly!

Where Can I Buy Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)?

You can buy FOS in supplement form as a stand-alone product or combined with probiotics.

Internet retailer iHerb.com also supplies a fantastic range of stand-alone FOS supplements as well as probiotics containing FOS. Their international shipping rates are also very reasonable. Click here to browse their store and receive $5 USD off your first purchase.

What Are Prebiotics?

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestible foods or food ingredients, which enter our colons un-altered by the digestive process, serving as an energy and growth source for the beneficial bacteria that live in our large intestine. In other words, prebiotics are food for the friendly bacteria in your intestines.

Types of Prebiotics

There are numerous different prebiotics currently on the market. In the US, the most common ones in use include:

  • Inulin, sometimes also known as inulin fiber
  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
  • Lactulose

These substances have been the subject of numerous studies. Most of this research focuses on inulin, FOS and GOS and these substances, with their relatively long history of safe use, are now generally regarded as safe1,2.

More recently new prebiotics have become available from Japan. These include:

  • Isomalto-oligosaccharides (ISO)
  • Soy-oligosaccharides (SOS)
  • Xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS)
  • Lactosucrose (LS)
  • Pectic-oligosaccharides

These newer compounds have been studied to varying degrees in laboratory test tubes (in vitro), mainly in animal feeding studies. These novel prebiotic substances are not widely available.

What Are The Advantages of Prebiotics?

Garlic and Onions are Good Sources of Prebiotics
Garlic & Onions: Good
Sources of Prebiotics

Prebiotics feed the friendly bacteria in our large intestine and so help good bacteria to survive and thrive. The general consensus is that prebiotics help to improve the intestinal probiotic balance in our intestines by feeding the probiotic bacteria. In this way prebiotics are thought to be indirectly beneficial to our health.

Prebiotics not only serve as nourishment, strengthening our all important probiotic intestinal flora, they also slow down the activity, growth and metabolism of the “unhelpful” microbes, with which they have to compete for survival.

Prebiotics are also:

  • Easy to store. Most do not require refrigeration
  • Readily available in natural forms in your local grocery store
  • Excellent value for money
  • Easy to include in your normal diet – in fact you may already unknowingly be eating several excellent sources of prebiotics!

What Are The Disadvantages of Prebiotics?

In terms of disadvantages, a side effect of prebiotics is that you may experience temporary gastro-intestinal problems such as increased gas and/or bloating when you begin taking them or if your intake of these substances is particularly high. One way to avoid such a scenario is to begin by taking only a small amount of prebiotic and then gradually to increase your intake over a number of weeks.

In theory prebiotics are supposed to feed only friendly bacteria. However, in cases where the digestive flora has become unbalanced, they also appear to support the growth of unhelpful bacteria. If you know your digestive flora is unbalanced or are experiencing symptoms of food intolerance, intestinal dysbiosis or an overgrowth of Candida Albicans, be advised that prebiotics may exacerbate your symptoms, worsening your overall situation. Indeed, Gastroenterologist, Professor John Hunter, of the Gastroenterology Research Unit, Addenbrookes Hospital, UK, advises his food intolerant patients to avoid prebiotics3.

Where Can I Find Prebiotics?

If you are keen to try prebiotics, you can find them in:

Natural Foods

Many natural foods are rich in prebiotics AND are very easy to find at your local grocery store! These include:


  • Tomatoes
  • Sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes
  • Onions
  • Chicory
  • Greens (especially dandelion greens but also spinach, collard greens, chard, kale, mustard greens, and others)
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Leeks


  • Berries
  • Bananas

Whole Grains:

  • Wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Flaxseed


  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Navy beans
  • White beans
  • Black beans

And breast milk!

Including natural prebiotic-rich foods in your diet is the most cost effective way of adding prebiotics to your diet. Naturally-occurring prebiotics in food are also stable and they survive the cooking process. This makes them really easy and convenient to include in your diet.

Processed Foods

Increasingly prebiotics are being added to many types of processed foods such as commercial yogurt and dairy drinks, nutrition and meal replacement bars, “green foods”, functional wafers, cereals and cereal bars as well as infant foods and formulas. You can buy many of these foods at your local grocery store.

Be aware, however, that many of these foods may be high in sugar and/or salt and so may not always be as healthy as they first appear.

Also many processed foods such as canned beans contain prebiotics but may not be labeled as such.

Buying specific prebiotic processed foods can be an expensive way of getting prebiotics into your diet.

Nutritional Supplements

Prebiotics can also be purchased as a supplement, either as a stand-alone product such as a pure fructooligosaccharide (FOS) supplement or as an enhancement to a probiotic supplement. Probiotics with added prebiotics are easy to find. Examples include Culturelle and HMF probiotics as well as the high potency probiotics Therbiotic Complete (Klaire Laboratories) and Maximum Support Probiotic Formula (Brain Child Nutritionals).

Remember that prebiotics work in conjunction with probiotics so to get best benefit take a probiotic too. And last of all, a final word about prebiotics… there are no official guidelines as to the optimum daily dose of prebiotics so if you do decide to try prebiotics, be sure to consult your physician before beginning to ensure your intake is sensible for your situation.

Baby Probiotics

Baby Probiotics

What are They?

You may have noticed baby probiotics in grocery and drug stores when you’ve been out shopping. In fact in the US, there is an ever-increasing range of baby probiotic supplements. There’s also a growing number of processed infant foods (infant formula, jarred infant food, baby cereals, and snacks) that are fortified with probiotics.

But what are probiotics?

Probiotics are live, friendly bacteria, which can provide adults, children, and babies alike with health benefits.

Can Babies Take Probiotics Too?

The good news is that babies can also take probiotics. Indeed probiotic supplements have been scientifically shown to help infants!

If you want to find out more information about baby probiotics, or infant probiotics as they are also known, then read on!

You’ll find lots of details here on baby probiotics including scientific evidence supporting their use as well as answers to those frequently asked questions that may be niggling you.

Doesn’t My Baby Already Have Friendly Bacteria?

The short answer to this question is yes!Baby Probiotics May Help Keep your Infant Healthy

Whilst in your womb, your baby’s intestinal tract is sterile – and so its free from bacteria.

From birth though your baby begins the process of acquiring the friendly bacteria in the gut that play such a critical role in health and wellness.

How your child is born, strongly influences what kind of bacteria your child will acquire.

Infants that are born vaginally begin accumulating beneficial bacteria including Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Escherichia coli (commonly abbreviated to E. coli) and Enterococcus in the birth canal with the very process of birth. These bacteria form the foundations of a healthy digestive flora and originate from healthy maternal vaginal and fecal flora.

Babies born via caesarian on the other hand, receive a different mix of bacteria at birth. This comes from the maternity hospital itself, notably from nursing staff and equipment and includes Clostridium and Streptococcus.

Following birth, the acquisition of digestive flora continues until your baby is around two to three months of age with most of this beneficial bacteria coming from the mother via touch, suckling and kissing1.

The way in which you feed your baby also has a strong influence on his or her digestive flora.

A breastfed baby tends to have greater numbers and types of beneficial bacteria than a formula fed infant, notably Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus and Enterococcus.

These bacteria, specifically those belonging to the Bifidobacteria clan (genera) (e.g. Bifidobacteria infantis, Bifidobacteria bifidum, Bifidobacteria longum and Bifidobacteria breve) thrive in the presence of breast milk proteins and constitute up to 90% of a breastfed infant’s micro flora. They help prevent harmful bacteria colonizing the infant’s intestine.

Why Would I Need to Give My Baby Probiotics?

By this stage, you may be wondering, why anyone might want to give a baby probiotics when the child already has its own probiotic flora.

Well just as adults and older children can have an unbalanced digestive flora, so too can an infant. There are several reasons why your infant’s digestive flora may need a helping hand from probiotics including:

  • Your baby is currently receiving or has recently undertaken a course of antibiotics.
  • The mother’s digestive flora is unbalanced or was so at birth. Common signs of an out-of-sync digestive flora may include Candida albicans infection (intestinal and/or vaginal thrush), food intolerance symptoms, gut dysbiosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms.
  • Your baby was born by caesarian section. Research indicates that the digestive flora in infants born by caesarian section may be disturbed for up to six months after birth3.
  • You baby was born prematurely. Research has shown that premature birth can result in a delayed and abnormal pattern of gut colonization with beneficial Bifidobacteria4.

Probiotic Supplements or Probiotic Foods?

Which is best? Giving your baby probiotics in the form of supplements or feeding probiotic foods? Well the answer is depends your baby’s age as well as the reason for giving your baby probiotics in the first place.

If your baby has been weaned onto solid foods and is healthy and you simply want your child to stay this way, then it makes sense to include probiotic foods in your child’s diet. Start these as early as possible so your infant get used to the sour taste of probiotic foods. Suitable early foods include probiotic yogurt and fermented dairy drinks such as milk kefir. You can also liquidize cultured vegetables such as

fermented cabbage sauerkraut) in a blender and you can rub some of the fermented vegetable juice into your baby’s gums.Baby Probiotics: A Child Acquires Most of its Natural Probiotic Bacteria from its Mother

If however your child has a specific health problem for which you have sought professional advice and for which you wish to try probiotic supplements, then giving your child baby probiotics is a good idea. Baby probiotics contain an adequate dose of probiotics for therapeutic use. They are also the best method of giving probiotics to tiny babies, who have not yet been weaned.

Don’t forget too, that your baby will acquire most of its beneficial flora from its mother. To ensure your baby gets a good maternal dose of healthy intestinal bacteria, make sure that mum too includes probiotics in her diet as well as plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, which feed the all-important beneficial bacteria.

Scientific Evidence Supporting the Use of Probiotics in Infants

Indeed a significant amount of scientific evidence also exists to suggest that giving a baby probiotics may provide health benefits. Probiotics have been shown to help a wide range of infant conditions including:

  • Atopic disease including eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma: Probiotics were shown both to help prevent and reduce these conditions. The studies used Lactobacillus GG, which is marketed as Culturelle Probiotic for Kids and Lactobacillus reuteri which is available in Biogaia Infant Drops)5,6.
  • Colic: Probiotics were proven to improve symptoms. Lactobacillus reuteri which is available in Biogaia Infant Drops, was used in this study7.
  • Diarrhea and Gastroenteritis: This study concluded that probiotics, specifically Bifidobacteria, reduced the incidence of these conditions8.
  • Functional chronic baby constipation9. Lactobacillus reuteri, which is available in Biogaia Infant Drops, was shown to increase the number of bowel movements.
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis in premature babies: Probiotics were proven to help prevention and reduce the severity of this condition. The studies used three different probiotic combinations: Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium infantis10, a mixture of Bifidobacterium Bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus11, and a combination of Bifidobacteria infantis, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidobacteria bifidus12(latter marketed as Solgar ABC Dophilus)

Additionally probiotics for children have also been shown to have health benefits, which may be applicable to babies.

Where Can I buy Baby Probiotics

We have teamed up woth Amazon.com to provide you with a fantastic range of baby probiotics. Click here to visit our store.

Probiotic Yogurt

Probiotic Yogurt

Probiotic yogurt or live yogurt as it is also known, has been consumed in many different cuisines around the world since ancient times. Nomadic herdsmen are believed to be the first consumers of probiotic yogurt, begining the tradition approximately 9,000 years ago when man first began keeping animals. Originally, the fermentation of milk to produce yogurt is thought to have occurred naturally by wild bacteria and quite by accident. However, the herdsmen soon learned to culture the milk themselves, making their own probiotic yogurt.The milk is most commonly from cows though probiotic yogurts made from goat, sheep or even water buffalo milk are also available. Likewise probiotic yogurts made using soy milk are becoming increasingly popular.Go try some – see what it could do for you!There are some wonderful and simple recipes for making cold yogurt sauces, as well as other probiotic foods in Sally Fallon’s excellent book, Nourishing Traditions and also Wild Fermentation by Sandor Elliz Katz.You can also use a commercial yogurt starter instead of commerical plain yogurt.

Today probiotic yogurt is still consumed by many different cultures worldwide. In the United States, live yogurt is the most popular probiotic food. Over recent years, as Americans have begun to recognise the benefits of probiotic foods, US consumption of probiotic yogurt has increased. Although on the rise however, US consumption of live yogurt is considerably lower than that in either Europe or the Middle East.Live yogurts are usually made from animal milks to which the following probiotic bacteria are added:

  • Streptococcus thermophilus

    and either

    Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Health Benefits of Probiotic YogurtAs well as being very nutritious – yogurt contains calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and protein – various research studies have concluded that yogurt is beneficial to health. While more research is needed, eating probiotic yogurt on a regular basis is thought to provide the following health benefits:
  • Improved immune ability to resist and recover from infection1.Prevention of vaginal yeast and bacterial infections2.Lowering of LDL “bad” cholesterol whilst raisng HDL “good” cholesterol levels3.Reduction of blood pressure4.Improvement in gastrointestinal conditions such as antibiotic-induced diarrhea5, constipation6,lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, and helicobacter pylori infection and treatment efficacy7,8.
  • Uses of Probiotic YogurtIf you’re like most people, you probably eat your yogurt as a dessert. However there are numerous other ways to enjoy yogurt. One super easy way of including probiotic yogurt in your daily diet is simply by replacing your usual yogurt with a probiotic one. Other easy ways to include probiotic yogurt in your diet include:
  • On your morning breakfast cereal as a replacement for milk.As a snack with fresh fruit.Use it in place of milk in your smoothies.Mixed with cucumber, garlic and/or lemon and eaten as a cold savory sauce or dip.
  • Buying Probiotic YogurtProbiotic yogurt can be purchased in most grocery stores. It is available in many different forms including regular, low fat to fat-free, chilled or frozen, flavored and unflavored. Additionally and increasingly you can also buy probiotic yogurt in tubes, which can be squeezed into your mouth. Be wary though, not all of these products as as wholesome and healthy as they appear!Sorting through all the probiotic yogurt options to find one that will deliver the health benefits of probiotics can seem a daunting task but, armed with a little information, you will be able to do this in minutes. Let us show you how to choose a quality probiotic yogurt.Check the Label for Probiotic or Live BacteriaAll probiotic yogurt, or live yogurt as it is also sold, contains live probiotic bacteria. To determine whether the probiotic yogurt you are looking at is live, look on the label for the words “contains live/active/probiotic” cultures. Only those with words to this effect on the label will contain live probiotics. Watch out for products stating “made with live/active/probiotic cultures”. Such products are likely to have undergone heat-treatment (pasteurization), which kills live bacteria.All probiotic yogurts are made using bacteria from the Lactobaccillus family along with Streptococcus thermophilus. Some probiotic yogurts also contain other strains of live bacteria. Ingesting a large variety of probiotic bacteria potentially increases the health benefits of the product, so the more probiotic species and strains your yogurt contains, the better!Look Out for Added SugarIf you’re like most people you probably prefer your yogurt sweet. Indeed in the United States, most of the yogurt purchased is sweetened with refined or processed sugar. Probiotic yogurt is available though without sugar – look for the “natural”, “plain” and “unsweetened” options. Without the processed and refined sugar, which raises insulin levels, supresses immunity and encourages unhelpful digestive flora, these natural probiotic yogurts are healthier than their sweetened counterparts. Be kind to yourself and try an unsweetened probiotic yogurt.A natural probiotic yogurt will of course taste sour in comparison to a sweetened. To make your transition to plain yogurt easier why not try initially:
  • Mixing half your usual sweetened yogurt with half a natural probiotic yogurt.Eating your natural probiotic yogurt as a savory dip.Adding honey or a fresh fruit to your natural yogurt.
  • Choose a Chilled YogurtAlways choose a chilled yogurt as opposed to a frozen one. Beneficial bacteria can survive freezing but frozen yogurt contains far fewer probiotic bacteria than a chilled yogurt. Frozen yogurts also often contain a great deal of sugar. Choose chilled probiotic yogurt over frozen probiotic yogurt every time!Making Probiotic YogurtOf course you can also make your own probiotic yogurt really easily. This way you can ensure your home-made yogurt is completely natural and contains no unneccessary additives. You can also ferment your yogurt for longer periods to ensure that your end product is almost lactose free. Such long fermenting periods produce home-made yogurts especially suitable for people with lactose intolerance, producing a product that much is lower in lactose and thus easier on digestion than commerical yogurts.To make your own yogurt you typically need:
  • Shallow oven-proof container with lid.Thermometer1 US quart or 1 liter milk. Use either whole milk (3.5% fat), reduced-fat milk(2%) or semi-skimmed milk (1.8% fat).Yogurt starter
  • Yogurt RecipeTo make your own delicious yogurt:
  • Heat your milk to approximately 180ºF (82ºC) for fifteen seconds and then cool to 110ºF (43ºC).Mix in half a cup (4 fluid ounces or 8 tablespoons) of commercial plain probiotic yogurt.Stir thoroughly and place in your shallow covered container.Place in an oven heated to 150ºF (66ºC) or in gas oven with pilot light on for twelve hours/overnight. For low-lactose yogurt leave in the oven for twenty-four hours.
  • Finally you can make your life even simpler by using a yogurt maker. We find this the best way to make home-made yogurt. This no-fuss approach ensures your probiotic yogurt is kept at the right temperature as it ferments. Choose a maker with either individual cups or one large tub. The Yogourmet Electric Yogurt Maker is a bulk yogurt machine suitable for making one or two quarts of yogurt and is also good for those who don’t like too much washing up! If you prefer to make your yogurt in individual jars, then try either the Eurocuisine YM80 Automatic Yogurt Maker or the Cuisipro Donvier Electronic Yogurt Maker.

    Dr Ohhira's Probiotics

    Dr Ohhira’s Probiotics

    Dr Ohhiras Probiotics (also known as OMX probiotics) are a type of probiotic supplement manufactured by Essential Formulas.

    There are currently two products in the Dr Ohhira range: Dr Ohhira’s Probiotics 12 Plus (Original Formula) and Dr Ohhira’s 12 Plus Professional Formula.

    Both products contain identical ingredients. The difference between them lies in their fermentation times. Dr Ohhira’s Probiotics 12 Plus are fermented for three years, whilst the Professional Formula receives an additional two years, making a total fermentation period of five years.

    This longer fermentation period is said to increase the potency of the organic acids and probiotic bacteria contained in the product. Thus, whilst there are fewer bacteria in the Professional Formula (600 million CFUs1) compared to the Original Formula (900 million CFUs), the bacteria are said to be more powerful. As far as we understand, however, no independent evidence exists to confirm this increased potency.

    Both products are available in packs of sixty capsules, which are blister packed to protect the products’ potency. The capsules are suitable for adults, children and infants alike and can be stored at room temperature without the need for refrigeration.

    Product Ingredients

    Dr Ohhira’s probiotics differ from many of the probiotic supplements on the market. Rather than being chemically synthesized in a laboratory as is the case with many probiotic supplements today, the probiotics in the Dr Ohhira range are made from natural ingredients using only a modern-day version of ancient Japanese fermentation techniques.

    Dr Ohhira’s products contain over 92 different plant species including wild fruits, seaweeds, herbs, vegetables and mushrooms as well as spring water. This crop mixture forms the basis of the products’ prebiotics, fructooligosaccharides (also known as FOS), which are naturally developed during the fermentation process.

    Additionally, the products contain a probiotic blend totaling 900 million CFUs (Original) and 600 million CFUs (Professional) respectively and both comprising 4 bacterial species and 12 bacterial strains:

    • Bifidobacterium breve subspecies (ss) breve
    • Bifidobacterium infantis ss. infantis
    • Bifidobacterium longum
    • Enterococcus faecalis TH10
    • Lactobacillus brevis
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus
    • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
    • Lactobacillus casei ss. casei
    • Lactobacillus fermentum
    • Lactobacillus helveticus ss. jagurti
    • Lactobacillus plantarum
    • Streptcoccus thermophilus

    Neither of the Dr Ohhira probiotics contain artificial additives, preservatives, colors, flavors, soil-based organisms (SBOs) or animal by-products. The product ingredients are also free from exposure to chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Additionally, they are non-GMO2, dairy, soy and gluten free. Thus Dr Ohhiras probiotics are suitable for those who follow a dairy soy and/or gluten-free diet as well as for vegetarians.

    Evidence for the Health Benefits of Dr Ohhira Probiotics

    Whilst there is no specific scientific evidence relating specifically to Dr Ohhira’s probiotic supplements, research studies have proven that the specific probiotic strains included in these products are indeed beneficial to health. Lactobacillus acidophilus for example has been scientifically shown to help constipation 3, abdominal pain4 and rhinitis5, whilst Lactobacillus plantarum has been proven to help symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)6.

    Additionally, the mixture of beneficial bacteria contains the patented Th10 strain of Enterococcus faecilis, which was developed from the fermented food tempeh by Dr Lichiroh Ohhira himself. Dr Ohhira's Professional Formula ProbioticsDr Ohhira has shown that this strain of bacteria inhibits the MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) superbug, Escherichia coli 0157 (E. Coli 0157) as well as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which causes peptic ulcers. He has also demonstrated that Enterococcus faecalis TH10 is 6.25 times stronger than other naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria.

    Whilst Dr Ohhira has won numerous awards for his work and for his probiotics, we cannot find evidence that any independent research has been conducted to verify these results.

    However, user reviews (see Amazon.com) and anecdotal evidence demonstrate that this probiotic is highly regarded by many patients and physicians alike. Indeed there are vast numbers of user reviews, which rate these products very positively. Many people report that Dr Ohhira probiotics are effective for many conditions including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Candida albicans, urinary tract infections, ulcerative colitis, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), allergies and vaginal yeast infections.


    We think there are a number of advantages to Dr Ohhira’s probiotics. These are:

    • These products do not require refrigeration and so are ideal to take with you on trips away.
    • The probiotics contain a good blend of probiotic strains and species. Taking a probiotic with a wide-range of strains and species is thought to be more beneficial than taking a single-strain product, as taking multiple strains increases the chance of at least one being effective.
    • The products contain only natural ingredients.
    • The products are free from fillers and binders, which can be an irritant to people with digestive problems.
    • Both products have an extremely long shelf life of three years, this is much longer than most other probiotic supplements on the market.
    • Adults, children and even infants can take the products, making them suitable for the entire family!
    • The products are encapsulated in an enteric coating, which is designed to withstand the stomach acid, delivering the probiotic bacteria intact to the colon.


    In terms of their disadvantages, Dr Ohhira probiotics have the following drawbacks:

    • They are available only in a sealed capsule form. This is likely to be problematic for those with severe dysbiosis problems, who may wish to start small and increase the dosage slowly. The sealed capsules are very difficult to split. Those with severe digestive issues may find that taking an entire capsule of these probiotics initially causes a healing crisis, which results in a flare of their symptoms.If this is you and you want to try these products, then one way to lessen this exacerbation of symptoms is to take one capsule, wait for a few days until your symptoms have subsided (either totally or to their usual level) and then to take another. As your gut flora re-balances over time, these initial flare-ups on taking the probiotic should subside.
    • They contain a mixture of many different herbs, vegetables, wild fruits, seaweeds and mushrooms, which may make them difficult to tolerate for people with allergies and food intolerance symptoms.
    • They contain fructooligosaccharides (also known as FOS), which may make them unsuitable for people with dysbiosis.
    • The bacterial count per capsule (CFUs) is much lower many other probiotic supplements.
    • The cost is very high when compared to other probiotic supplements. See our cost comparison guide for advice on how to compare fairly the cost of different probotics.

    Our Evaluation

    We have given these products a three-star rating on the basis that they have some excellent qualities but also some limiting ones. These products are suitable for the whole family: for adults, children and infants alike. They also contain an excellent mix of bacterial strains and species, though in much smaller quantities (Colony Forming Units or CFUs) than most other probiotic supplements. Additionally, the wide range of ingredients and capsule form mean that they are probably not suitable for those with allergy and intolerances. Also the cost is high per 10 billion CFUs of bacteria when compared to other supplements.

    The reviews (see Amazon.com) though are excellent – the choice is yours!!!

    Where Can I Buy Dr Ohhira’s Probiotics?

    You can buy Dr Ohhira’s probiotics from our on-line store, provided in partnership with Amazon.com:

    Dr Ohhira’s probiotics are also available from many natural health food stores (both actual and on-line) as well as from some pharmacies.

    What Are Probiotic Foods?

    Ever wondered about probiotic foods? What exactly are they? Well put very simply, probiotic foods are foodstuffs containing the health-promoting, live microorganisms, known as probiotics.

    Whilst some foods that contain probiotics have simply had probiotics added to the finished product (i.e. probiotic cereal bars), most of these wonderful foods take on their probiotic properties through a process known as fermentation. This process occurs when the live probiotic organisms in the food, in their quest to obtain energy, alter the chemical properties of the original food. Fermentation not only changes the appearance of the original food, it also enhances the flavor, texture, and vitamin content, and also preserves it!

    Why Eat Probiotic Foods?

    These probiotic or fermented foods, as they are also known, have another very special quality. When consumed regularly and in adequate quantities as part of a food, the tiny live probiotic organisms in these foods deliver health benefits to the host.1 So just by eating these foods, you can help your health!

    Indeed consuming probiotics has been shown to improve the health of the intestinal tract, maintain urogenital function and enhance the immune system. Scientific evidence also shows that ingesting foods containing probiotics can also lessen symptoms of lactose intolerance and reduce the occurrence of allergy in susceptible people.2,3

    You may have already come across the most familiar and widely recognized probiotic foods, which are yogurt and fermented cabbage, known as sauerkraut. In fact it is very likely that you are already eating some fermented food. However, there are many types of foods that contain probiotics. This site will allow you to discover the wide array of probiotic foods.

    You can purchase some of these foods ready-made in the grocery or health food store and you can also make many of these quite easily at home. Probiotic yogurt for example can be made very simply from milk and a yogurt starter.

    If you want to make these foods at home, you may want to kit yourself out with some specialist equipment. We have teamed up with Amazon.com to provide you with a well-stocked store. Click here to browse our store.

    Good sources of home-fermenting recipes can be found in the books Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. You can buy both these books at our probiotic book store. Click here to enter our store.

    History of Probiotic Foods

    It’s not just recently that we humans have begun eating probiotic foods. Since ancient times, man has made and eaten probiotic food. The earliest types of probiotic foods were wine, beer and leavened bread, fermented by yeasts, as well as cheeses and milks, made by bacterial and fungal fermentation. Whilst for these very early societies the fermentation process was a welcome mystery, humans learned that fermentation not only enhanced the taste of these food products but also ultimately preserved the foodstuffs.The health benefits of eating probiotic food appears not to have gone unnoticed either.

    The wise Roman historian Plinius proposed using fermented milk products for treating gastroenteritis.

    More recently, in the early 1900s, Nobel Prize winning microbiologist Ilya Ilyich Mechinikov attributed the health and longevity of a group of Bulgarian peoples to their consumption of probiotic foods.

    He not only identified the health-giving bacteria used to ferment these foods (Lactobacillus bulgaricus), he also concluded that he believed beneficial “good” probiotic bacteria could have a far greater impact on human health than disease-causing bacteria. Indeed probiotic organisms are not thought to promote or cause disease but rather they enhance health.

    Probiotic Foods around The World

    Many different peoples around the world have long traditions of eating fermented foods. Each of these groups traditionally had its own specific types of food fermentation, which reflected their respective staple diets and raw food availability in the region. These probiotic foods were generally made from fruit, vegetables, meat or dairy products and later grains.Probiotic foods are popular around the world

    For the Europeans for example, the traditional food fermentations were made from cabbage (known as sauerkraut to the Germans and choucroute to the French), beets, cucumber, as well as green tomatoes, peppers and lettuces (Russia and Poland)

    The Asians also used sour preserved cabbages and vegetables as staples in their diets.

    Koreans were famous for their

    kimchi, a spiced fermented cabbage, and the Japanese for their traditional vegetable ferments known as tsukemono or pickles.

    Many types of fermented milk products were also first produced and consumed in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa by nomadic herders. The Bulgarians ate yogurt, whilst further east, the central Asians drank cultured mare’s milk known as kumis as well as a cultured effervescent drink, known as kefir.

    Foods that Contain Probiotics

    Today foods which contain probiotics are still an important part of eating habits around the world. These foods play a significant role in Asian and European food systems and today the health-giving properties of these foods are highly valued. Click here to read about Do you find it challenging to sleep with your CPAP machine?

    The Koreans continue to enjoy their daily helping of kimchi (also spelled gimchi, kimchee and kim chee), a spiced fermented vegetable mixture based upon cabbage, eaten with meals to aid digestion.

    The Japanese also use fermented food as a digestive aid, eating their fermented soya bean soup, known as miso, with practically every meal – breakfast not excluded!!!

    The Europeans also still enjoy many types of foods that contain probiotics including milk products as well as vegetable ferments. Fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) is eaten with main meals, again to ease digestion. Kombucha, a fermented drink, is also popular.

    In America rather sadly though, people have become distanced from their fermented food traditions. Where people would once have eaten home fermented food such as cultured vegetables, they now eat canned and processed foods. They have largely come to rely on pills as opposed to food in order keep healthy and with a fear of all things microbial, with the exception of yogurt, are slow on the uptake of foods containing probiotics. This is a great oversight, given the wonderful health properties of these foods as well as the diverse, fantastic tastes of the many different probiotic foods.

    Which Foods Contain Probiotics?

    Let us introduce to a few of the wonderful foods that contain probiotics out there. Whether you prefer vegetables, fruit, beans, dairy or grains, there is a fermented food for you!


    • Milk Kefir: a thick, slightly fizzy milk drink. See our dedicated page on how to make kefir if you want to learn how to make your own at home.Have a look too at our page on kefir grains and powdered kefir starter for a discussion on the pros and cons of each type of starter.
    • Yogurt: the thickened (usually) milk-based product, we know so well. Often mixed with fruit or other flavorings.
    • Buttermilk: a sour tasting thickened liquid milk.
    • Crème fraiche: rich cream with a mildly nutty, sour flavor.
    • Acidophilus milk: thickened tangy milk drink.
    • Fermented dairy milks such as Danactive, Activia and Yakult.
    • Aged cheeses such as Gouda, Emmental and Edam and Cheddar.

    Fruit and Vegetables


    • Miso4 : fermented soya bean paste traditionally used in Japan for making soups, adding flavor to sauces and as a spread for crackers. There are many different types of miso and the flavor of each variety is determined by additional ingredients and exact process of fermentation.
    • Tempeh: Indonesian fermented whole soya bean product with a cake-like form. Has a nutty taste and firm texture many consider it a substitute for meat. It is very versatile and can be used in soups, spreads, salads and sandwiches.
    • Natto: Fermented soybeans, traditionally from Japan, with a strong savory nutty taste and aged cheese-like smell.


    • Traditional sourdough bread.
    • Granola and snack bars fortified with probiotics (Attune Wellness Bars).
    • Cereal with added probiotics (e.g. Kashi Vive Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal).
    • Rejuvelac5: a refreshing drink based on wheat and water.
    Align Probiotic: What Is it?

    Align Probiotic: What Is it?

    Align Ingredients

    The ingredients in Align Probiotic capsules are as follows:

    • B. infantis 36524
    • Microcrystalline cellulose
    • Hypromellose (vegetarian capsule shell)
    • Sugar
    • Magnesium stearate
    • Milk protein
    • Titanium dioxide
    • Sodium citrate dihydrate
    • Propyl gallate
    • FD&C; blue #1 (colorant)
    • Riboflavin (colorant)


    In terms of advantages, Align probiotic capsules can be stored at room temperature unlike many probiotic supplements, which require refrigeration. This makes them ideal for “on the go” use and thus ideal for taking on vacation. Align probiotics also have a longer shelf-life (24 months) than many other probiotic supplements.Align Probiotic Contains Bifidobacteria Infantis 35624

    The product is also free from lactose, soy and gluten and so is suitable for those allergic or sensitive to these products. Its vegetable-based capsules also makes it appropriate for vegetarians.

    Children can also take Align probiotic supplements. If however you are unsure as to whether or not this product is suitable for your child, be sure to consult your child’s physician for advice.

    According to its website, Align Probiotic also comes recommended by gastroenterologists (also known as gastrointestinal or GI doctors). Among those gastroenterologists who recommend probiotics, Align purports to be the favored brand. Visit https://probiotics-help.com/common-cpap-masks-you-can-find-in-australia/ to read about Common CPAP masks you can find in Australia.

    This product also receives very positive customer reviews on Amazon.com. Click here to read these reviews.

    Many report that it has helped with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and associated symptoms including chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas (flatulence) and bloating.

    Furthermore, the specific strain of Bifidobacteria infantis used in the product (strain 35624) has been scientifically proven to help the symptoms of IBS2,3,4 specifically incomplete evacuation, abdominal pain, bowel dysfunction and gas.

    Finally, the manufacturers of this product offer a money back guarantee should you not be satisfied with your purchase. See the Align website for further details.


    As far as the disadvantages of this product are concerned, this product contains a significant number of additional synthetic ingredients including lubricants, (magnesium stearate) stabilizers, (sodium citrate dihydrate, propyl gallate) binders and fillers (microcrystalline cellulose). Additionally, it contains the whitener titanium dixoide as well as colorants (FD&C; blue #1 and riboflavin).

    This product is therefore not likely to be suitable for more sensitive people. If you have problems with food additives or colorants or are suffering from food intolerance symptoms, then you would be wise to select a purer product, such as one from the Custom Probiotics range. These are free from fillers or binders, colors, flavors and artificial additives.

    This product also contains sugar so also is not appropriate for those following a strict sugar-free diet.

    With only one billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of probiotic bacteria per serving, Align probiotic capsules provide a significantly lower bacterial count than many of the probiotic supplements currently on the US market.

    Most of the lower strength adult probiotic supplements contain at least ten billion CFUs of viable probiotic bacteria per serving, whilst a high potency probiotic such as VSL3 (also written VSL 3 and VSL#3) can contain up to 450 billion CFUs of probiotic bacteria.

    This low bacterial count per serving makes Align probiotic supplements expensive compared to other probiotic supplements. If you compare the cost of ten billion CFUs of this probiotic to other products on the market, you will find that comparatively Align Probiotic supplements are more expensive than many other products. Have a look at our cost comparison guide for more specific guidelines as to how to accurately compare the cost of different probiotic supplements.

    Finally, Align probiotic supplements contain one strain of probiotic bacteria only. Many experts recommend taking a mixture of probiotic bacteria to increase the chances of at least one being effective for you.

    Our Evaluation

    Align probiotic supplement contains Bifidobacteria infantis 36524

    This probiotic contains Bifidobacteria infantis (B.infantis) 35624, which has been shown both clinically and anecdotally to be of benefit for IBS. We feel however that the low bacterial count (CFUs) contained in this product, its high cost compared to other probiotic supplements, the significant number of additional ingredients contained in this product together with the fact that the product only contains one strain of probiotic bacteria, all limit the product. Thus we have given the product a rating of three stars.

    Where Can I Buy Align Probiotics

    You can buy Align probiotics from Amazon.com.